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Kamikaze ‘89

West Germany 1982. Dir: Wolf Gremm. 106 min. DCP

“Completely bonkers and entirely charming ... Truly, deeply, gloriously weird.”

NEW RESTORATION | ’80s aesthetics reach their apex in Wolf Gremm’s newly-restored curio classic, a pop-meets-trash-art “neon-noir” that features the great Rainer Werner Fassbinder in his final screen role (he died a month before its release). The year is 1989 and West Germany is now a wealthy, world superpower. When a shady media conglomerate known as The Combine receives a bomb threat, an expert police lieutenant (Fassbinder, swathed in leopard-printed apparel and endless perspiration) is given four days to crack the case. A vision of the future steeped in the era of its making (that synthy soundtrack: Tangerine Dream’s Edgar Froese!), Kamikaze ’89 still offers some spot-on forecasting of coming trends like reality TV and micro-camera surveillance — though sadly the “police disco” failed to take off. Fassbinder brings with him muse Brigitte Mira (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) and longtime cinematographer Xaver Schwarzenberger, making it feel like a tangential RWF project.



"The focal point of the film is Fassbinder's easy, neo-Wellesian control of every scene in which he appears."

New York Times | full review

"Gremm is most invested in the production design, which is jaw-dropping for the full 100-odd minutes. Its Pop Art and plastic erotics take on a slick of the sinister."

Brooklyn Magazine | full review